If you have recently been applying for grad roles or summer internships (yes, I know it’s early but companies are starting to recruit NOW for summer interns!) you may have found that in addition to submitting your cover letter, CV and perhaps completing an online application form, you have also been asked to prepare a case study.
First of all, don’t panic! Other students have survived the process, and so will you. The trick is understanding what may be expected of you and how you might prepare. There are a number of resources on the web with samples of case studies and tips on how to approach case study exercises. Several of our students have told us that they actually enjoyed the experience and learnt a lot from it!
Case Studies are often used in assessment centres for graduate jobs and internships in banking, finance, accountancy, large multi-nationals and management consultancies. They are typically based on real-life business cases.
Here are some great links to get you started:
http://bit.ly/1llhy6n – Whilst it’s good to research practice case studies, McKinsey & Company warns not to over-prepare. Most employers do not want candidates who have over-studied and come armed with buzzwords and acronyms. Learn what to expect and then give yourself time to relax beforehand.
http://bit.ly/1jGEOaz – Bain & Company advises candidates not to worry if the business problem involves an unfamiliar industry. You’ll find several sample case study interview questions here.
http://bit.ly/1gAA6gI – some excellent tips on approaching case interviews can be found on the Quintessential Careers site.
http://bit.ly/1dMrxtu – tips on how to ace your case study by thinking aloud.
http://bit.ly/1nZRqzJ – also from the Target jobs website, coping with case studies for graduate jobs.
There are plenty of other examples, just google case studies for job interviews if you would like to see more.
Case studies help employers assess your skills. You will have developed many of these skills through your studies, part time jobs and volunteer experience: problem solving, teamwork, leadership, time management, resilience, critical and analytical thinking etc. With a bit of preparation and reflection on your learning and experiences you are set to go!